Further trees are being planted in the UK – including on and near healthcare sites – as part of work by water retailer Water Plus to boost green canopies for communities.
For the second year running, Water Plus has donated 25 trees to the NHS Forest, after 25 were planted at a health trust’s site in the last year, following support from Water Plus – helping access for all to trees and green space on healthcare sites.
The NHS Forest project is an initiative that aims to increase biodiversity and inspire and support healthcare sites in transforming their green space for health and wellbeing, bringing community benefits.
The NHS Forest is run by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH), as the flagship project of its Green Space for Health programme. The NHS Forest supplies health sites with native tree species, which can be used to create woodlands, orchards and hedgerows – vital habitat for many at-risk wildlife species. CSH develops knowledge and resources to support the NHS and other health systems to reach Net Zero carbon and wider sustainability.
The NHS Forest saplings will go into the ground this planting season, which runs through until March 2024 and the Water Plus tree sponsorship also contributes to running the NHS Forest initiative.
The Water Plus support is the latest in a series of initiatives which aim to raise awareness about how water is used – and promote ways to protect our natural resources and reduce impacts we can all have on the environment.
Barry McGovaney, Sustainability Lead at Water Plus, said: “We’re supporting the NHS Forest with trees for healthcare sites for the second year running as we work with organisations, including NHS Trusts, and we want to help the environment and communities.
“We’re also engaging with communities to highlight how saving water – and making what we use go further – can help reduce impacts on the environment – and reduce carbon emissions too.Small, low-cost things like tap aerators can cut hot water and cold water use. If less water needs heating, then less energy needs to be used – so there are less carbon emissions, unless your power is from 100% certified renewable energy already.”
In its awareness raising and engagement work with organisations, the company has helped a range of more than 40 sites, including in the public sector, see an average 34.6% water-saving in 2023, after water efficiency devices were installed.
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust also saw its Sustainability awareness-raising day with doctors, nurses and other hospital staff, supported in 2023 by a Water Plus Key Account Manager sharing water tips, which can also save energy where there is less water waste through leaks or where less water needs to be heated.
In other actions in 2023, Water Plus supported 20 metres of new fruiting hedgerows, working with The Tree Council, a charity that’s provided the orchard packs and educational material to four schools in 2023 – so pupils can plant and care for them. It’s part of The Tree Council’s Orchards for Schools project and The Tree Council said the hedgerows would help the environment, shelter wildlife and help wellbeing.
In separate work – and amongst other activity by Water Plus – suggestions for sites where more native UK trees will thrive in 2023 can be made, including near public sector buildings in England and Scotland.
The importance of water efficiency and how it can help with energy costs at sites is also being highlighted in the #BeWiseOnWater awareness campaign by Water Plus.
Organisations can email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of public sector sites that could accommodate trees, which will be distributed in packs of 10 saplings.
Suggestions for tree sites can also be sent, by private direct message, to Water Plus on their social media channels including LinkedInand Twitter. Brief details on how planting would benefit the area should be included in emails, which should have the subject heading #NominateforTrees.Water Plus will review all suggestions.
A partnership with the charity Trees for Cities, started in April 2021, has also seen 94 trees planted in 2022 – and a further 1,000 UK trees planted in city areas in 2023.
Amongst other benefits, the trees will help improve air quality, capture CO2 emissions, as well as contribute to managing surface water run-off in the UK, which can contribute to flooding.
Trees for Cities is also helping to highlight water-saving messaging with Water Plus, including how cutting any waste, like drips and reducing hot water use, can help the planet.
Water Plus also provided 30 trees in the last year to EcoPark, run by Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust. As part of the joint work, the Wildlife Trust and Water Plus, which is the largest water retailer in the UK and an nine times Green Apple Environment Award winner, are also highlighting water-saving tips.
More information about the steps to help the environment that Water Plus are taking are on the Water Plus website here.
- The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH) inspires and empowers people to transform healthcare for a sustainable future. Collaborating with partners, both within and outside the healthcare sector, CSH engages professionals, patients and the wider community in understanding the connections between health and the environment, while reducing healthcare’s resource footprint. For more information see: https://sustainablehealthcare.org.uk
- The NHS Forest is a network of healthcare sites working to transform their green space to realise its full potential for health, wellbeing and biodiversity, and to encourage engagement with nature. The initiative is run by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, an independent UK charity, as part of its Green Space for Health Programme. For more information visit: https://nhsforest.org/ . 10,363 trees were planted as part of the NHS Forest in the 2022/2023 season.
Like all forests, the NHS Forest comprises far more than just trees. Sites involved have established a wide range of green spaces, which offer multiple benefits to people and wildlife. A growing body of evidence points to the benefits of access to green space for mental and physical health.
Many NHS Forest sites have also planted native, perennial wildflowers to support pollinators; this in turn can see the return of wildlife such as bats and house martins.